For a moment, let’s consider those who came before us. Who or what compelled you to place your first seed in the warm earth? Was it a parent or grandparent? Did you once visit a famous garden like Montrose in North Carolina or Stourhead in Wiltshire, England? Did you read one of Christopher Lloyd’s many books like the amazing Chistopher Lloyd’s Garden Flowers: Perennials, Bulbs, Grasses, Ferns, or how about his friend, Beth Chatto’s, mind blowing Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden: Drought-Resistant Planting Through the Year. By the way, you know you’ve made it when your name is part of the book’s title.
Are you more politically minded? Are you concerned about an upcoming food crisis, or is the preservation of the environment (water or land) your first consideration?
Perhaps, you grew up in a house where preserving food was just part of the landscape per se.
Brooke from WebGarden asked me to write a post for her website profiling my garden and experiences.
I’ve written before of my Grandma Nita, but otherwise, my childhood was basically devoid of plants, and in my opinion, much of that which was beautiful. My parents had little disposable income, and they spent it on the essentials. Mom worked with my father, and by the time she finished running a recreation center (pool hall) all day, made meals and did laundry, she was spent. She didn’t have the inclination or energy to place a Mason jar of wildflowers on the table.
I do wonder if things would have been different if she had, for beauty is the language of God.
Once or twice a year we visited my grandparents in northeastern Oklahoma (paternal) and southern Missouri (maternal). Both grandmothers loved to grow things. Grandma Nita was the food producer partly because my grandfather, Elbert, didn’t let her have many flowers. Granny, or Margaret as I like to think of her now, was the African violet queen. She also reigned over numerous other tender houseplants. I’ve just begun to cherish her talent for growing things indoors.
From both dear ladies, I learned a lot about plants.
At home, without any land to fuel my dreams, I drifted into houseplants myself and their supporting macrame hangers. I loved tying those knots, and my mom did too, so it was a way we could do something together.
Meanwhile, I didn’t know I wanted to be a gardener. Like many thirteen year old girls, I preferred the occupation of a romantic heroine preferably in a bucolic setting, even better in England with some visits to Venice and France for edification. Boy, did I ever live in my head.
Physically, I lived in Oklahoma in the center of the U.S. and not in an 18th Century landscape painting by John Constable. Being a dreamer and one whose dreams consisted of countryside manors, I often felt I didn’t fit in with the rest of my family. For example, when I read a biography on Marie Antoinette I wasn’t interested in court life. Oh, no, like her, I wanted to remain in the countryside with the plants, sheep and more comfortable clothes (sans corsets).
I used to paint and draw, and I was always tempted by certain themes. Unfortunately, I’m not very good, so I couldn’t take the artist route. Still, the good Lord has a plan for all of us, and I eventually ended up where my dreams began, only with an Oklahoma twist.
No manor house, but instead, a rambling log house with equally rambling gardens, chickens, two great Labs (and an interloper) and two fine cats. Once I got my own home, I went a bit extreme and then kept adding beds and borders even as recently as last fall. However, the puppy is demolishing that garden piece by piece so he is helping me edit the design.
Luckily, Bill is supportive and more. He actually likes the gardens as much as I do as long as he isn’t forced to weed. He’ll build anything, and he understands scale which is helpful. He also think arbors are great. He is unique because he is a rough and tumble builder with a romantic’s soul (far more romantic than I).
Now, enough about me. What influenced you to build your garden? Either comment here, or feel free to write about it on your space. I’d love to read about your inspiration.
Oh, and if you’d like, I have a post over at the new Lowe’s Garden Grow Along blog. Let me know what you think of the new design will you? I also write for Fiskars, and the living Christmas tree post is now up.